This is not a recipe. This is what is happening to peaches picked in one hundred-plus degrees, stacked on a flatbed then driven 200 miles to market. It was a sad sight to see many, many boxes of Troy Regier’s luscious white and yellow peaches in a soupy state, dumped into trash bags, unsellable. (The only good news was that Santa Monica’s solid waste division is able to reclaim produce and other compostable items at the farmers’ market – so the peaches may soon return as topsoil.)
Summer fruit is ripening very fast and it needs to be picked daily for the health of the trees. Getting that fresh, ripe fruit to market in an edible state is a challenge that all California farmers are facing right now. Some farmers have cold storage units that can accommodate hundreds of boxes of ripe fruit and get the heat out of the fruit soon after it is picked. This process exerts a downward pressure on the quality of the fruit’s flavor and is noticeable to market aficionados. Truly fresh fruit must be picked at the peak of ripeness and consumed without being chilled. This preserves the absolute peak flavor of the fruit and is truly not available anywhere other than a farmers’ market, unless you are fortunate caretaker of a fruit tree of some description.
Mike Cirone’s Blenheim apricots are finally arriving at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica markets. This venerable old apricot was once abundantly produced in a beautiful area of Northern California called “The Valley of the Heart’s Delight” – now better known simply as Silicon Valley. Blenheims have everything an apricot can offer – meaty texture, perfect acid-sugar balance and quintessential apricot flavor – even for those who have never tasted one. Mike’s orchards in See Canyon, just south of San Luis Obispo, enjoy a temperate microclimate that protects them from the scorching heat of the San Joaquin Valley, so the fruit is less likely to arrive at market in a distressed state. Enjoy these delectable apricots while you can – the season will last about six weeks at most.